(This is a guest review by Brian Draghi. Find Brian on Twitter @Sketchscape)
I have enjoyed the retractable Signo RT series of pens for while now and they have been working well as-is, or at least so I thought. Uni-ball recently released an updated version of the Signo RT called the Signo RT1 with a sleek new body and a tip design that provides a smoother writing performance that the original.
The new body style of the RT1 really caught my eye the first time I saw it. It has a unibody design that looks like it’s made from one continuous piece. The bottom part of the pen near the tip is made from smooth rubber that is comfortable to hold for longer periods of time. Unlike the grip of the RT that stops near where the pen tapers towards the tip, the RT1 grip continues on to the very end of the pen. If you like to hold the pen near the tip, you still have a nice grip for your fingers to hold on to.
The main body of the RT1 is made of a translucent color that reflects the color of the refill you prefer and is see-through enough to allow you to see how much ink you have left. It’s an excellent feature and makes the RT1 feel like a streamlined, stylized pen. The RT1 also has a clip that is integrated with the click mechanism. This causes the clip to move when you extend and retract the pen instead of being stationary on the regular RT.
Comparing the line quality of the original RT to the RT1, the RT1 has the smoother writing experience. The RT1 just glides across the page without any effort required. It creates a smooth, dark, fine line that does not skip across the page.
The RT, in comparison, almost needs a bit more pressure to use since it tends to drag across the page slightly. This causes the RT to have a scratchy quality when writing. Maybe it’s this particular RT refill I currently have or I just never noticed the scratchy quality until now.
Despite the many positive elements, the clip is one of the worst things about the RT1. It is too flexible and doesn’t feel as secure as I would like. This is something that could break off after frequent use, especially if you are one that likes to fiddle with their pen clips. Another problem with the RT1 is the retracting mechanism. When you press down on the click mechanism to extend the refill, the clip and mechanism tend to rattle back and forth when you lightly shake it. This would be a huge issue if this occurred while you were writing but thankfully that does not happen. The rattling isn’t too distracting unless you are waving your pen around like a crazy person with a purpose.
￼Besides the minor issues with the clip and click mechanism, this is a great pen to carry away from home. The updated barrel design is nice, and the line is smooth and dark.
The RT1 is $2.50 at JetPens which is slightly more expensive than the RT but it is well worth paying an extra dollar for. It’s hard to complain about a pen that works consistently every time you put it in use.